Maidan, Ga. , Former President Jimmy Carter and human rights activist and mental health advocate Rosalynn Carter are celebrating 77 years of love and marriage on Friday.
Seventy-seven years ago on Friday, a U.S. Navy midshipman from the small town of Plains, Georgia, exchanged vows with a woman he had met and fallen in love with years earlier. Little did they both know that their marriage would become the longest marriage of any presidential couple.
The two met in Georgia when Roslyn was almost a baby, but didn’t really get to know each other until Jimmy came home from the US Navy Academy. His younger sister sets him up on a date with a family friend, Rosalyn, who already has a crush on the future governor of Georgia and US President.
During her second diamond anniversary celebration, Rosalyn explained how growing up she didn’t care about dating younger men and never thought she’d get married.
“I didn’t know how to talk to him, I didn’t want to go out with him,” she said. She said she used to urge her mother to tell people who called her on the phone that she was not around.
The Carters were married in 1946.
Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter were married on July 7, 1946, in Plains, Georgia. (Carter Library and Museum)
Jimmy resigned from his military career in 1953 following the death of his father, James Earl Carter Sr.
The two would develop a partnership while working in the agricultural supply business, which they continued even as Jimmy became involved in politics. Rosalyn used to say she knew more about business than he did and would ask his advice about things.
After taking over his family farm, Jimmy Carter emerged as a community leader and in 1962 won a bid for a seat in the Georgia Senate.
This was the beginning of his political career that took him to the Governor’s Mansion in 1971 and then to the White House in 1976.
Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn Carter, talking on the telephone after his victory in the Pennsylvania primary election on April 27, 1976. (Photo by Mickey Ansin/Getty Images)
During her husband’s administration, Rosalyn became a well-known advocate of mental health. She was active as honorary chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health, which helped pass the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980. The law outlined the rights for mental health patients to receive necessary protections and services and emphasized mental health requirements. of minority population.
Jimmy Carter lost his re-election bid to Ronald Reagan in 1980, but Roslin has said the scar made the couple stronger. He said that she loves campaigning and this has made the pair even stronger.
The couple’s humanitarian efforts continued after their White House residency. In 1982, the co-founder established The Carter Center, an organization dedicated to educating the public and advancing human rights initiatives.
Even after being sidelined due to the COVID pandemic, the two remained active in their 90s through various activist works and philanthropy through working with Habitat for Humanity and through the Carter Center.
The pair have enjoyed the hobby together for years – sometimes even competitively. Before becoming impoverished, they enjoyed playing tennis, hiking, and bicycling together. Both prolific writers, they sometimes raced to complete drafts of books. Fishing often involved competition as well, and they continued to fish on their properties in the plains. In recent decades, when his physical movements have slowed down, he has added bird watching to it.
“Jimmy and I are always looking for things to do together,” Mrs. Carter said, adding that it is also important for each of them to have “some space.”
The pair also remain huge supporters of home teams such as the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks. The pair were also caught twice on Hawkes’ “Kiss Cam” a few years back, which took the internet by storm both times.
According to the Jimmy Carter Library, on his 75th birthday, Carter was asked to name the most important thing he ever did. His answer was: “Marry Rosaline.”
The 39th president is 98 and has been under home hospital care since February. The former first lady is 95 and has dementia. The Carter family has not provided details about Jimmy or Rosalynn Carter’s condition, but has said that they both have enjoyed time with each other and have occasionally been close to family members in recent months. Have met friends too.
Grandson Jason Carter recently said, “As we’ve lived through his legacy, it’s been truly wonderful to see the outpouring of support, respect and love.” “The word love is really what defines their personal relationship, of course, but also their attitude towards this world.”
In addition to their longevity, both Carters attribute their long marriage to open communication and their shared Christian faith.
The former president said in 2021, “Reconciliation is needed every day.” “We don’t go to sleep with some differences between us.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report